My family are nomads and live in a yak hair tent.
Nilza Angmo & Chemat Dolker are sisters, their family belongs to remote area of Tsomoriri in the Himalayas. Tenzin Kasang’s family are also from the same region. In the communities around Tsomoriri, Khandro Rinpoche and her family lineage are very respected. Khandro la’s father, Apho Rinpoche, spent many years teaching buddhism in this area, so there is a strong connection towards Khandro Rinpoche.
In 2016, these young girls are enrolled in a local private school for their academic education while they live and receive their cultural education with houseparents in our "Kyibuk" Himalayan Home in Mulbeck. “Kyibuk” means “happy cave”. Modern academic education is a rare opportunity for young women and Khachodling is delighted to support these bright students, who are very connected to their spiritual Himalayan heritage.
Whilst the girls are living at Mulbeck and are receiving a rich Buddhist education from experienced monks and nuns, they themselves have not taken vows to become nuns. This decision to lead a monastic or lay life will be entirely up to each individual later in life.
My family are nomads and we lived in a yak hair tent. I have seven brothers and sisters. My parents work very hard but the nomadic way of life is dying out. I met Khandro Rinpoche when I was very small, she came to our area to teach. My mother offered myself and my sister to her for the dharma. This is quite common in our culture.
My sister and I are very proud to do this and it is our way to educate ourselves and have a meaningful life. At the time, Rinpoche suggested we wait a few years and then she allowed us to come and live here in Mulbeck.
I am happy here, we are taken care of. Here I have the opportunity to to learn the dharma and help other people - just as Khandro Rinpoche does.
I would like to know, what do you eat for breakfast in Australia?
Watch the girls singing an English language song they have learnt:
Kate Burke travelled to Mulbeck and met Nilza, Chemat & Tenzin in August, 2015:
What moved me when I visited Mulbeck was how everyone - from Amchi-la and Lama Rigdzen, to the other nuns and little gilrs - all worked together, and for each other, on a daily basis to sustain their community. The three youngest girls had their part to contribute to ensure that there was enough water for everyone to wash, clean the dishes, to cook and get ready for school after their morning practice. It was lovely to hear them chanting together with Nilza and Chamat helping young Tenzin.
The weather was warm in August, at bed time the three girls would go up to the roof top landing with a small awning for cover. They would pull out their simple bedding and prepare for sleep. The lamas, nuns and lay people are very supportive of these young girls and it’s a very nurturing environment for them at the hermitage home. They all work, study and live together with dharma as their foundation.
Khandro Rinpoche has encouraged the girls, including Nilza, to play Tibetan instruments during traditional ceremonies, that normally only men would play. While shy doing this at first, the girls are skilful and diligent. While I was there Nilza played the thigh bone horn – she has a good set of lungs!
These young children are diligent in their school and dharma studies and devoted to Khandro Rinpoche, who has done so much for them and the surrounding community. With one of their teachers Amchi-la - they wrote and sang a song for Khandro Rinpcohe that was inspiring.
Amchi-la, who is a Tibetan doctor, takes the time to mindfully sweep around the gompa in the morning. He is a very humble person while at the same time playing an important role in this community. Amchi-la is well respected in nearby Kargil where he treats people from all backgrounds and religions.
These young girls have come from their families to learn their cultural traditions, the dharma and to improve their education so that they too can contribute positively to their communities.